Pope Benedict XVI is finding out how difficult it is to say you're sorry. He called on Muslim diplomats this week to soothe over his remarks on Islam.

The meeting this week at the pontiff's summer home comes as a major report on international religious freedom is released in the United States. The U.S. State Department submits the report to Congress each year, according to a release by the ZENIT News Agency.

Eight of the 197 countries analyzed were noted as having particular problems with religious freedom. They are Burma, China, North Korea, Iran, Sudan, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. India and Pakistan got good marks for taking steps to improve religious freedom in some areas.

China, Iran and North Korea came in for some of the strongest criticism, according to the news agency. In China, the government's respect for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience remained poor. Researchers found little evidence the situation had improved any since 2005, according to the report.

In Iran, there was further deterioration and North Korea showed no change in the "extremely poor level of respect for religious freedom."

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